Social Security scammers are at it again. Remember – never give out any personal or banking information over the phone, no matter how much the caller insists or threatens.
In recent days, a number of our clients have received a scam telephone call related to their Social Security. While these phony calls are not new and have been a persistent threat for years, there does seem to be a new wave currently underway in our area. The call may come in several different variations, but typically will begin with a recorded message informing the recipient that his or her Social Security number has been compromised and is being used for identity theft or other criminal purposes, and then ask the recipient to hold for an operator.
The operator will typically claim to be from the Social Security Administration or other government agency and begin asking for detailed personal information including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or other financial information in order to safeguard the recipient’s Social Security benefits. In some cases, the caller may claim to be from a law enforcement agency and threaten the recipient with fines, imprisonment, or other penalties for failing to pay a fee immediately. DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE, no matter how much the caller insists.
As a reminder, the Social Security Administration will never:
- Call to threaten you with arrest or legal action;
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended or revoked;
- Offer to resolve identity theft issues in return for a payment;
- Offer to increase your benefits in return for payment of a fee;
- Demand secrecy in handling a matter related to your Social Security;
- Send you a text message about a problem with your Social Security number or benefits;
- e-mail you documents containing personally identifiable information;
Generally, the Social Security Administration will communicate with you via postal mail, and if you ever need to submit payments for any reason, the SSA will send you an official letter with details and instructions. Never make payments via pre-paid debit or gift cards, Internet payment services, wire transfers, or cash. Scammers ask for these types of payments because they are difficult for law enforcement to trace.
If you receive a suspicious call, your best course of action is to hang up and report it to the Office of the Inspector General using a dedicated online form located here. If you are unable to access the form for any reason, call your local Social Security Administration office for instructions on how to report the incident.
As always, you may contact us with questions related to health or disability benefits and we will point you in the right direction.